Swiss Scientists 'Print' A Human Heart
In a remarkable use of 3D printing, a team of Swiss scientists built a functioning human heart out of silicone.
In an article published last week in the Journal Artificial Organs, the team described the process and the results, concluding, "The preliminary results of this study show a promising potential of the soft pumps in heart replacements."
The 3D heart was pneumatically powered, and tested with mock circulation under various physiological conditions. It successfully pumped blood in a way similar to a normal human heart, though at a very low pressure. It functioned for several thousand beats.
The Swiss team noted that more work has to be done to create a more stable model that will function at normal blood pressure and last for an extended period. It isn't a replacement for a biological heart. It's intended use is to serve as a short term substitute until the patient receives a transplanted heart.